Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Barn Block Finalist!!

This morning I was thrilled to find out that I am one of the Top 100 Finalists in the 2013 AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Design Contest!!!  This is my second year participating in the contest and it is just so much fun!!!  I was over the moon to find out that I had 3 block designs finish in the top 100.    Here they are!!

#9 - Star Surround
I have been playing around with this design for the last 6 months contemplating if I wanted to turn it into a quilt-a-long, or a pattern, or what have you.  So it was really fun to see it make a finalist :)  (On a side note, would you like a quilt-a-long with this design??)

#30 - Corkscrew
This block is another that I have been playing with for a little while with the same wondering on what to do with it :)  I really have fallen in love with it so I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up again sometime :)  

#39 - Due North
 This block was designed specifically for the Barn Block contest.  I love how it turned out.  Now, I just need to figure out how I could create it :)  

Voting takes place from today until Wednesday, April 18th.  So take a minute and pop on over to AccuQuilt Barn Contest and vote.  (And if you wanted to vote for 1, 2, or all 3 of my designs that would be just peachy :)  But most of all just vote :)
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Refracted Rainbow Mini Top Done

Okay, I am having so much fun with this little mini!!  After finishing up the little rainbows I started framing them in white.  I love how the white serves to make the colors all the more crisp.

Then I played with the layout and sashed each of the framed rainbow blocks with some black.  The remind me of old slide projector slides.  So cool!!

I used the two remaining blocks to make a label for the back. I need to finish the back now so I can get to quilting it.

And speaking of quilting . . . This is my current quilting plan.  What do you think???  I would love your creative opinions!!

Linking up to Quilt Story
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Mini Refracted Rainbows

Remember my plan to Remake Refracted in a Rainbow theme??  Well this weekend I got started on it.  And I am just freaking out over how stinking cute these little guys are.  They are 3" unfinished and will finish at 2 1/2". I am so excited with how this is coming together!!

Next step, framing each little rainbow in a 1/2" finished white border.  After that there will be some black sashing to tie it all together.  

I am just so happy to be working on this!!  It is so happy making to work with rainbows!!   The finish will go to my partner in the Fab Little Quilt Swap.  I hope she loves it, I know I sure do :)

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Road Home Snuggler for Happy Chemo

Each year, Emily from Em's Scrapbag collects quilts to donate to the Happy Chemo project.  These quilts are given to individuals going through the throws of cancer.  I knew I would see Emily at Quilt Walk, where we are both teaching, and I wanted to have something special to give to her for this amazing cause.  And so I created the Road Home Snuggler.

I wanted to make something warm and cozy that had a feel of home.  So I whipped out my super soft, super snuggly, Wool and Needle Flannels Layer Cake sent to me by the lovely ladies at Moda.  This line will be available in July so it was a treat to get to work with it early,  thanks Moda!!  These beautiful rich colors just make me want to curl up in front of a fire :)    I took some pictures along the way  so that if you wanted to whip one up as well you could!!

 Here's What You Will Need:

(42) 10"x 10" squares.   I loved using the flannels!!  The finish feel is just fantastic!!

You will also need a 60 x 70 inch batting and backing.

Separate your 42 squares into 2 even piles.  I separated mine into lights and darks.

On the wrong side of the darker fabric using your ruler, draw a pen line diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.  Repeat for all of the squares in the dark fabric pile.

Lay a dark square on a light square with rights sides together.  Pin both sides of each square adjacent to that drawn line.  Make sure to put them out far enough that your presser foot won't hit them as you sew on by :)  Repeat until you have pinned 21 sets.

Now stitch a 1/4" seam along both sides of the drawn line (the black lines represent your stitching lines :)

Chain stitching will save you lots of time here.  So go ahead and stitch a 1/4" seam on on the right hand side of the line on each of the 21 sets, clip your threads between blocks, and then go back and stitch a 1/4" seam on the left hand side of the line for all 21 blocks.  Clip your threads between blocks.

 Cut your pieces apart by aligning your ruler along the drawn line and cutting along the edge of your ruler.  Cut all 21 sets creating 42 blocks.

Press your seams.  I normally press to the darker fabric, but if you are using flannels, I highly recommend pressing the seams open to reduce the extra bulk.

And now you are ready to trim up your Half Square Triangle blocks.  Simply lay a 9 1/2" square ruler onto your block aligning the seam with the diagonal degree line.  Trim around the block on all 4 sides.  There won't be a lot to trim :)  If you don't have a 9 1/2" ruler you can see this tutorial on how to trim HST's with other rulers :)

And your blocks are ready to lay your blocks out.  This is s much fun.  Without worrying about a pattern, simply lay the blocks in a 6 x 7 layout.  The more random the better.  Play around with the color's patterns, and such until you have a look that is pleasing to the eye.  

Once you have a layout you are ready to sew the top together.  Start with sewing the blocks into rows.  I find the easiest way to do this is to stack each row and place some sort of marker on the first block indicating what row it is.  This way you don't lose the layout you just created.

Then just start sewing the blocks together, one block adding to the next, and the next until you have sewn all 6 in the row.   Most of the time I just align as I go, but the flannels tended to want to shift so I recommend pinning if you are using flannels.    Repeat for all 6 rows.

Press your seams.  Normally, I press all my odd rows to the right and my even rows to the left.  But once again, I wanted the extra bulk of flannel to lay flat so I pressed my seams open.

 Sewing the rows together is just like creating them.  Lay the first row onto the second with right sides together.  Nest the seams and pin them and then along the rest of the edge.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.  Press open.  Then repeat adding the third row to the now sewn together first and second row and so on.

And before you know it, you have a beautiful super soft, super snuggly quilt top!!

And all that is left is to Baste it, Quilt it, and Bind It.  I know, I make it sound so easy.  If you are new to finishing your quilt, I have created a video tutorial series that goes over the basics of each of these three steps.  You can find it here :)   I quilted mine with a large loopy stitch as I didn't want to stitch it to much and take away from the soft top. You will need 7 WOF strips for the binding.  

And you are done, one beautiful  57" x 63 1/2" Road Home Snuggler.  Enjoy it for yourself of give it to someone special!!

One final note . . . I wanted to share my inspiration for this quilts name and design.

At the start of this quilt, I was staring at squares trying to decide how I wanted to turn it into a quilt.   I was pondering on Chemo, on family members I have seen go through it, and thinking about how many people struggle through it daily.  I kept coming back to the idea, that in the end, everyone wants to find a road home.  No path would lie straight ahead, it would likely require a lot of twisting and turning, maybe some backtracking here and there, but there would always be that journey to find the road home.  I love that each time I look at this quilt my eyes follow a different path.  They twist and turn, and sometimes backtrack, reminding me of those fighters journey.  I hope that whomever receives this quilt, can find peace and comfort as they struggle to move forward to find that Road Home.

Linking up to Amanda and Sarah :)

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

I call it "Well Loved"

This morning, I pulled my Sunkissed in Spring quilt out of the dryer after it needed a little cleaning from bearing the brunt of my daughter's dinner revisited.   (As if it isn't bad enough that I have a cold, now we get sick wee ones too, Le Sigh)   This is like the 40th time since I made it for a MBS tutorial  2 years ago that it has been washed.  I remember the first time it took a crayon beating I cried.  I was so upset over how many hours I had spent making this quilt just to have it treated like a common coloring book.  

We'll, 2 years later, and a lot of washing's later,  I am happy to say that I don't cry anymore.  I mean, it goes on a 3 year old's bed, what do I expect??  When something goes amiss I spray it, toss it in the machine, and tell myself it is "Well Loved".

I know, it looks practically perfect from a distance, right.  But get close up :)  You will find at least 10 of these little Nail Polish blobs on it.

And there are a few of these pen streaks that I can't get out for the life of me.  I have gotten ink out before but apparently this particular pen has more stubborn ink.

And almost all of the flower centers are coming unraveled.  I did a zig-zag stitch around the centers so it would secure both pieces of fabric at the same time.  If I were to do it over again, I would take the extra time and just do a blanket stitch twice, one in each direction.

So sure, it doesn't look like it did the first day I shared it, but it is "Well Loved".

Now, I don't want you all to think that this I just sit back and laugh and smile every time one of my quilts get's stained.  Quite the contrary.  This whole "Well Loved" idea has been a process for me.  It get's easier once a quilt is stained repeatedly to see it as a good thing, but, when a new quilt is stained for the first time, I'm not gonna lie, it's hard to be okay and not shed some tears.  I mean after all, there is a lot of yourself put into each one.   I could go on and on with personal experience and examples, some good, and some not so good that I have learned from along the way.  But after the up's and down's, the personal reflection and pondering, I have come to the conclusion that someday, when I look back on my quilting journey  I am pretty sure that I would prefer my quilts to be "Well Loved" rather than Well Seen.  (If only I could process all of that in the moment I find that first stain ;)  

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